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Reading Between the Lines on 'Harmful Books'

June 07, 2005

Re "The Right's Wrong Books," Commentary, June 3: Jonathan Chait scores points for arguing that the grouping by conservatives of scholarly works by empirical scientists with those by totalitarian authors is a mistake.

Equally, insights from the evolution of species and psychoanalysis can arouse accusations by conservatives that liberals use these works to advance their cause and, hence, should appear on lists denouncing them.

For example, Charles Darwin's work on natural selection and survival of fittest can be interpreted as evidence against affirmative action.

Thus, granting favorable status to "protected" ethnic, racial and gender categories is anathema to Chait's argument that the "right" desires banishment of Darwinian works.

Therefore, should not social interpretations of Darwinian theory be included among scholarly works perceived as "The Left's Wrong Books"?

Christopher W. Williams

Valencia

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Chait postulates that Human Events magazine's list of the "Ten Most Harmful Books" gives one "a fair window into the dementia of contemporary conservative thinking."

All he had to do was look one column to the left and read Pat Buchanan's demented sour-grapes piece on "Deep Throat."

Jay Aronow

Oxnard

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